Around the World in 80 Days


Broadcast on:
October 23, 1938
Based on:
"Around the World in Eighty Days" by Jules Verne (1873)
Around the World in 80 Days

"You are a Frenchman and your name is John."
"Jean, Monsieur. Jean."

As Welles mentions in his introduction, Howard Hughes's record-breaking round-the-world flight had taken place just months before and was no doubt still in the public mind. Hughes had not, however broken Phileas Fogg's record of 80 days, completing the journey in 91 days. Jules Verne's initially unlovable hero uses all manner of methods to win his bet, and once again Welles gets swept up in the adventure of the whole thing. The original script is available here.

Welles makes an interesting, impatient Fogg, rushing to win his bet accompanied by his long-suffering manservant, whose name he resolutely refuses to pronounce correctly. Hermmann's music is electric, swirling around the performances as they swirl around the world. Welles himself made a TV series in the 1950s entitled Around the World, although he ventured no further than Spain, Italy and a bar in Paris.


The Novel

The novel, Verne's most popular work in the English-speaking world, was written in 1873 after an idea which came to Verne in a Parisian café. It paints a portrait of the British Empire at the end of the 19th century, as well as the empire builders who inhabited it.
It was serialised on the dates quoted in the novel, leading some to believe it was a journalistic account (much like The War of the Worlds excitement, broadcast the following week). The hot air balloon so closely associated with the book is never used and considered only briefly as a mode of transport.
There is no 'standard' English translation of the book, and until recently the quality of translation has been varied wildly. The original French text can be found here.

Full Cast

Orson Welles (Phileas Fogg), Ray Collins (Mr. Fix), Edgar Barrier (Passepartout), Eustace Wyatt (Ralph), Frank Readick (Stuart), Arlene Francis (Princess Aouda), Stefan Schnabel (Parsee), Al Swenson (the Captain), William Alland (the Officer).

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Les Miserables

Welles's interpretation of Hugo's epic tale, which inspired CBS to commission the Mercury Theatre.

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"We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone."

Orson Welles